United Space Alliance LLC

Houston, TX, United States

United Space Alliance LLC

Houston, TX, United States
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Osterlund J.,United Space Alliance LLC | Lawrence B.,United Space Alliance LLC
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2012

With the advancements in high spatial and temporal resolution graphics, along with advancements in 3D display capabilities to model, simulate, and analyze human-to-machine interfaces and interactions, the world of virtual environments is being used to develop everything from gaming, movie special affects and animations to the design of automobiles. The use of multiple object motion capture technology and digital human tools in aerospace has demonstrated to be a more cost effective alternative to the cost of physical prototypes, provides a more efficient, flexible and responsive environment to changes in the design and training, and provides early human factors considerations concerning the operation of a complex launch vehicle or spacecraft. United Space Alliance (USA) has deployed this technique and tool under Research and Development (R&D) activities on both spacecraft assembly and ground processing operations design and training on the Orion Crew Module. USA utilizes specialized products that were chosen based on functionality, including software and fixed based hardware (e.g., infrared and visible red cameras), along with cyber gloves to ensure fine motor dexterity of the hands. The key findings of the R&D were: mock-ups should be built to not obstruct cameras from markers being tracked; a mock-up toolkit be assembled to facilitate dynamic design changes; markers should be placed in accurate positions on humans and flight hardware to help with tracking; 3D models used in the virtual environment be striped of non-essential data; high computational capable workstations are required to handle the large model data sets; and Technology Interchange Meetings with vendors and other industries also utilizing virtual reality applications need to occur on a continual basis enabling USA to maintain its leading edge within this technology. Parameters of interest and benefit in human spaceflight simulation training that utilizes virtual reality technologies are to familiarize and assess operational processes, allow the ability to train virtually, experiment with what if scenarios, and expedite immediate changes to validate the design implementation are all parameters of interest in human spaceflight. Training benefits encompass providing 3D animation for post-training assessment, placement of avatars within 3D replicated work environments in assembling or processing hardware, offering various viewpoints of processes viewed and assessed giving the evaluators the ability to assess task feasibility and identify potential support equipment needs; and provide human factors determinations, such as reach, visibility, and accessibility. Multiple object motion capture technology provides an effective tool to train and assess ergonomic risks, simulations for determination of negative interactions between technicians and their proposed workspaces, and evaluation of spaceflight systems prior to, and as part of, the design process to contain costs and reduce schedule delays. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Henke L.D.,United Space Alliance LLC
AIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2010 | Year: 2010

The ICARE method is a flexible, widely applicable method for systems engineers to solve problems and resolve issues in a complete and comprehensive manner. The method can be tailored by diverse users for direct application to their function (e.g. system integrators, design engineers, technical discipline leads, analysts, etc.). The clever acronym, ICARE, instills the attitude of accountability, safety, technical rigor and engagement in the problem resolution: Identify, Communicate, Assess, Report, Execute (ICARE). This method was developed through observation of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Systems Engineering and Integration (PSE&I) office personnel and their approach in an attempt to succinctly describe the actions of an effective systems engineer. Additionally, it evolved from an effort to make a broadly-defined checklist for a PSE&I worker to perform their responsibilities in an iterative and recursive manner. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Systems Engineering Handbook states, "engineering of NASA systems requires a systematic and disciplined set of processes that are applied recursively and iteratively for the design, development, operation, maintenance, and closeout of systems throughout the life cycle of the programs and projects." ICARE is a method that can be applied within the boundaries and requirements of NASA's systems engineering set of processes to provide an elevated sense of duty and responsibility to crew and vehicle safety. The importance of a disciplined set of processes and a safety-conscious mindset increases with the complexity of the system. Moreover, the larger the system and the larger the workforce, the more important it is to encourage the usage of the ICARE method as broadly as possible. According to the NASA Systems Engineering Handbook, "elements of a system can include people, hardware, software, facilities, policies and documents; all things required to produce system-level results, qualities, properties, characteristics, functions, behavior and performance." The ICARE method can be used to improve all elements of a system and, consequently, the system-level functional, physical and operational performance. Even though ICARE was specifically designed for a systems engineer, any person whose job is to examine another person, product, or process can use the ICARE method to improve effectiveness, implementation, usefulness, value, capability, efficiency, integration, design, and/or marketability. This paper provides the details of the ICARE method, emphasizing the method's application to systems engineering. In addition, a sample of other, non-systems engineering applications are briefly discussed to demonstrate how ICARE can be tailored to a variety of diverse jobs (from project management to parenting). © 2010 by United Space Alliance, LLC.

Gast M.A.,United Space Alliance LLC | Moore S.K.,United Space Alliance LLC
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2011

The beauty of the view from the office of a spacewalking astronaut gives the impression of simplicity, but few beyond the astronauts, and those who train them, know what it really takes to get there. Extravehicular Activity (EVA) training is an intense process that utilizes NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) to develop a very specific skill set needed to safely construct and maintain the orbiting International Space Station. To qualify for flight assignments, astronauts must demonstrate the ability to work safely and efficiently in the physically demanding environment of the space suit, possess an acute ability to resolve unforeseen problems, and implement proper tool protocols to ensure no tools will be lost in space. Through the insights and the lessons learned by actual EVA astronauts and EVA instructors, this paper will take you on a journey through an astronaut's earliest experiences working in the space suit, termed the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), in the underwater training environment of the NBL. This work details an actual Suit Qualification NBL training event, outlines the numerous challenges the astronauts face throughout their initial training, and the various ways they adapt their own abilities to overcome them. The goal of this paper is to give everyone a small glimpse into what it is really like to work in a space suit. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Grabois M.R.,United Space Alliance LLC
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2011

This paper shares an interesting and unique case study of knowledge capture by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an ongoing project to recapture and make available the lessons learned from the Apollo lunar landing project so that those working on future projects do not have to "reinvent the wheel". NASA's new Constellation program, the successor to the Space Shuttle program, proposes a return to the Moon using a new generation of vehicles. The Orion Crew Vehicle and the Altair Lunar Lander will use hardware, practices, and techniques descended and derived from Apollo, Shuttle, and the International Space Station. However, the new generation of engineers and managers who will be working with Orion and Altair are largely from the decades following Apollo, and are likely not well aware of what was developed in the 1960s. In 2006, a project at NASA's Johnson Space Center was started to find pertinent Apollo-era documentation and gather it, format it, and present it using modern tools for today's engineers and managers. This "Apollo Mission Familiarization for Constellation Personnel" project is accessible via the web from any NASA center for those interested in learning answers to the question "how did we do this during Apollo?" © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Stuit T.D.,United Space Alliance LLC
AIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2011 | Year: 2011

In preparation to provide the capability for the Orion spacecraft, also known as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), to rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) and future spacecraft, a new suite of relative navigation sensors are in development and were tested on one of the final Space Shuttle missions to ISS. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) commissioned a flight test of prototypes of the Orion relative navigation sensors on STS-134, in order to test their performance in the space environment during the nominal rendezvous and docking, as well as a re-rendezvous dedicated to testing the prototype sensors following the undocking of the Space Shuttle orbiter at the end of the mission. Unlike the rendezvous and docking at the beginning of the mission, the re-rendezvous profile replicates the newly designed Orion coelliptic approach trajectory, something never before attempted with the shuttle orbiter. Therefore, there were a number of new parameters that needed to be conceived of, designed, and tested for this re-rendezvous to make the flight test successful. Additionally, all of this work had to be integrated with the normal operations of the ISS and shuttle and had to conform to the constraints of the mission and vehicles. The result of this work is a separation and re-rendezvous trajectory design that would not only prove the design of the relative navigation sensors for the Orion vehicle, but also would serve as a proof of concept for the Orion rendezvous trajectory itself. This document presents the analysis and decision making process involved in attaining the final STS-134 re-rendezvous design. © 2011 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.

Osterlund J.,United Space Alliance LLC
AIAA SPACE Conference and Exposition 2011 | Year: 2011

A heavy lift launch vehicle that enables an architecture approach that will be affordable and sustainable should consider the following: 1) two different programmatic approaches - a direct capability vehicle and a progressive capability vehicle evolving to a pre-declared end-state, 2) a core stage concept that is standardized and configuration baselined to reduce vehicle manufacturing and production, infrastructure and processing life cycle cost growth, and 3) an evolving vehicle stack that employs an adjustable second or third stage configuration to meet customer mission requirements and objectives, resulting in tailored performance that enables satisfaction of mission goals. This paper will describe and provide the trade space and evidence of the relative benefits, impacts, and drawbacks between early heavy lift launch capability versus final configuration capability.© 2011 by United Space Alliance, LLC.

Rohrkaste G.R.,United Space Alliance LLC
61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010 | Year: 2010

Currently (and historically) recovery of human rated spacecraft from Earth landings is highly dependent on military and government organizations to provide the assets to recover the flight crew, cargo, and craft. While these organizations excel at this type of operation, they may not be the most cost-effective for commercial launch services. As the access to low Earth orbit transitions to commercial operations, the recovery of the Earth landing capsule, crew, and cargo is a sub-operation that needs to make the transition as well. This will require the review of several paradigms such as the number of handlers each flight crew needs for the adaptation from a de-conditioned state to Earth's gravity, the handling of cargo, and considerations of decontaminating the capsule for transport or disposal. This paper will review the considerations of commercial recovery of human carrying Earth landing capsules. Briefly, it will review past experiences of Apollo and SkyLab missions which were water recoveries. The paper will summarize the current Soyuz recovery concept of operations from the International Space Station (ISS), which is a ground landing. It will also look at the current Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) sea recovery, which was initially conceived as a much more commercially based operation than what it has matured to. While the Space Shuttle landings are not part of this paper because the Shuttle is a winged vehicle, some of its operations do have applicability to a generic capsule recovery, and those will be discussed. Additionally, current Search and Rescue (SAR) concepts and the applicability to commercial operations will be discussed. Assent and reentry aborts will be briefly touched upon since these are also Earth landings. The paper will present two (2) concepts of operations, one for a sea landing and one for a land landing which will be commercially based. It will identify were current paradigms must be rethought in order to make a commercial operation feasible. Additionally, a high order cost analysis of each concept of operations will be given. Copyright © 2010 by United Space Alliance, LLC.

May J.T.,United Space Alliance LLC
SpaceOps 2010 Conference | Year: 2010

Provide a graphical user interface based simulator for desktop training, operations and procedure development and system reference. This simulator allows for engineers to train and further understand the dynamics of their system from their local desktops. It allows the users to train and evaluate their system at a pace and skill level based on the user's competency and from a perspective based on the user's need. The simulator will not require any special resources to execute and should generally be available for use. The interface is based on a concept of presenting the model of the system in ways that best suits the user's application or training needs. The three levels of views are Component View, the System View (overall system), and the Console View (monitor). These views are portals into a single model, so changing the model from one view or from a model manager Graphical User Interface will be reflected on all other views. © 2010 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.

Frisbee Jr. J.H.,United Space Alliance LLC
Advances in the Astronautical Sciences | Year: 2010

In the last several years the concept of "Probability Dilution" or "Dilution of Probability" has been presented in the literature on satellite and orbital debris collision risk analysis. "Probability Dilution" proposes a quality criterion for accepting or rejecting a probability of collision risk estimate on the basis of where the probability estimate occurs with respect to the estimated maximum probability during the close approach event. In this paper evidence will be offered for why this criterion has no supportable basis. The evidence presented will consist of logical arguments supported by numerical examples and figures. Copyright © 2009 by United Space Alliance, LLC.

Moore S.K.,United Space Alliance LLC | Gast M.A.,United Space Alliance LLC
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2010

Neil Armstrong's understated words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" were spoken from Tranquility Base forty years ago. Even today, those words resonate in the ears of millions, including many who had yet to be born when man first landed on the surface of the moon. By their very nature, and in the true spirit of exploration, extravehicular activities (EVAs) have generated much excitement throughout the history of manned spaceflight. From Ed White's first spacewalk in the June of 1965, to the first steps on the moon in 1969, to the expected completion of the International Space Station (ISS), the ability to exist, live and work in the vacuum of space has stood as a beacon of what is possible. It was NASA's first spacewalk that taught engineers on the ground the valuable lesson that successful spacewalking requires a unique set of learned skills. That lesson sparked extensive efforts to develop and define the training requirements necessary to ensure success. As focus shifted from orbital activities to lunar surface activities, the required skill set and subsequently the training methods changed. The requirements duly changed again when NASA left the moon for the last time in 1972 and have continued to evolve through the SkyLab, Space Shuttle, and ISS eras. Yet because the visits to the moon were so long ago, NASA's expertise in the realm of extra-terrestrial EVAs has diminished. As manned spaceflight again shifts its focus beyond low earth orbit, EVA's success will depend on the ability to synergize the knowledge gained over 40 years of spacewalking to create a training method that allows a single crewmember to perform equally well, whether performing an EVA on the surface of the Moon, while in the vacuum of space, or heading for a rendezvous with Mars. This paper reviews NASA's past and present EVA training methods and extrapolates techniques from both to construct the basis for future EVA astronaut training. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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